Super Bowl ads: Can anything beat the adorable Budweiser puppy?

The Super Bowl ads were consistently good but none stuck out, except perhaps Budweiser's latest tug at the heart strings with a cute puppy saved by Clydesdales. Still, one surprise entry might have have topped it.

This ad by Anheuser-Busch shown during Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday appears to be the early winner of the Super Bowl ad sweepstakes.

OK, we've reached the toenail fungus part of the Super Bowl, so let's just assume that the really big ads have come and gone.

So where does this Super Bowl stand in ad history? Well, we haven't had a ton of stinkers. There was the obligatory one of a scantily-clad Kate Upton that was not designed to speak to our inner Carl Sagan, but otherwise, you might say this Super Bowl has been hitting a bunch of doubles.

Has there been anything talk-about-tomorrow good?

Probably not.

The Turbo Tax revision of the American Revolution because the tea partyers (circa 1773) got free tax filing? Pretty good. The fuzzy pup saved from a wolf by a herd of stampeding Budweiser Clydesdales? That got a "awww" from the wife. Kim Kardashian lamenting the tragedy of lost mobile data as she snaps selfie after selfie after selfie? We'll give that marks for clever self-awareness.

In the competition for best snack ad, the Skittles town of arm wrestlers perhaps nudges out Snickers' idea of combining "Machete" and "The Brady Bunch," which was funny but also just a little creepy.

We enjoyed the BMW i3 commercial not really because of the ad but simply because it was hilarious seeing Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric (circa 1994) wondering what the heck this e-mail thing was. You could have just shown the vintage video and stopped short of the "twerking" comment, and we'd have been fine. 

Actress Mindy Kaling did a delightful job being invisible (and eating gobs of ice cream and sunbathing naked in Central Park) for Nationwide insurance before the spell wore off when she tried to kiss Matt Damon, who wins the award for Best Cameo in a Super Bowl Commercial. Here's hoping Nationwide puts their selfie on its website.

But the surprising winner of the first half Super Bowl ad sweepstakes was ... Mexico avocados.

A Noah-like draft for Earth's flora and fauna, in which Mexico selects the avocado? That was about as close to genius as this Super Bowl got. Perhaps a triple.

One thing we will note in parting: Two ads that focused on people who were doing amazing things with prosthetic legs.

The first, by Toyota, had absolutely nothing to do with cars. But watching Amy Purdy, a Paralympic snowboarder who is also a dancer and model, overdubbed with Muhammad Ali in full bluster, still gave a few tingles.

The second, by Microsoft, showed 6-year-old Braylon O’Neill, who was born missing the tibia and fibula bones in both of his legs, doing, well, normal kid things. Running and swinging a bat and generally being happy.

We've noted before how the 2012 London Paralympics signaled something new – a deeper appreciation of the courage and competitive grace of disabled athletes. That message now seems to be seeping to the Super Bowl, too.

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.